Whoever said that reading was a religious experience was right, especially when taking a visit to Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Having just won the Lensvelt de Architect Interior Prize 2007, this newest addition to the Selexyz book chain is well worth the visit to this medieval city if you are ever in the area.
Erected inside a former 800 year old Dominican church, this bookstore is said to hold the largest stock of books in English in Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in the country.
It was always going to be a challenging task for Amsterdam based architects Merkx + Girod who designed the space, to stay true to the original character and charm of the church, whilst also achieving a desirable amount of commercial space (there was only an available floor area of 750 m2, with a proposed retail space of 1200 m2). Taking advantage of the massive ceiling, both have been achieved through the construction of a multi-storey steel structure which houses the majority of the books. This is one giant bookshelf, with stairs and elevators taking shoppers and visitors alike, up to the heavens (mind the pun), to roof of the church.
To maintain a sense of symmetrical balance in the space, lower tables of best sellers and latest releases have been added to either side, and of course a small cafe at the back for readers to relax and enjoy a hot drink.
Overall a great example of how with clever thinking, spatial solutions can both achieve a suitable retail presence, whilst still respecting and remaining true to the original structure. By Brendan Mc Knight
See also Pontificial Lateral University Library
LIBRARIES - CANDIDA-HOFFER
Kids Republic Bookstore
In a world where conservation and efficiency are becoming the standard, a greater number of companies are doing anything and everything they can to continue keeping awareness in the consciousness of the consumer. In this billboard for Philips, a consistent leader in corporate sustainability, the image of their globe is printed in ink that glows in the dark. The energy saving poster eliminates the need for artificial lighting. By Andrew J Wiener
Print Ad for Videocon Washing machines, created by Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai
Villa Eugenie is an "events" company in the most impressive sense of the word. These are not people who organize bridal showers and baby parties for minor movie stars. For the Brussels-based team of Villa Eugenie, led by Etienne Russo, routine means orchestrating a major runway event for a major fashion house. And stunning everyone.
Best known for its catwalk extravaganzas, Villa Eugenie is now involved in not just creating spectacular fashion shows, but staging major events for luxury business in all of its forms - magazine launches, major celebrations, and jewellery, perfume, art and opera installations, corporate events and fairs around the world. The team also advises major fashion brands on store concepts, stores space searches, lighting and branding. Although based in Brussels, Villa Eugenie operates in all major fashion and luxury centers and has a permanent office also in Miami.
We do not envy their task of having to impress the time-hardened fashion buyer or editor, or the celebrities that line up the runways of the famous fashion emporiums. These events are critiqued like major concerts or art exhibitions, and the shows themselves are as much about drama and ever-bigger surprises as they are about the designers, or the fashions - most of which are unwearable by mere mortals anyway.
Villa Eugenie must be doing it right. Year after year, its client list reads like a Who is Who in the fashion world: Chanel, Dries Van Noten, Miu Miu, Maison Martin Margiela, Lanvin, Hermés, Hugo Bosss, Sonia Rykiel, Olivier Strelli, and the
These are all major brands with huge production budgets. But even when you know that sky is not the budget's limit, it is still astonishing that the same production company can be creating several shows in one season - all attended by the same posse of cynical seen-it-all viewers - and not start to appear stale or formulaic. Boundless creativity and ruthless attention to detail, both most likely still sparked for each project by Etienne Russo himself, are the cornerstones of such a feat.
Russo started humbly in the 1980s as an artistic and creative barman at Mirano, a fashionable nightclub in Brussels. He was soon creating major events there and drawing serious attention. His first real fashion client was Dries Van Noten for whom he worked as a model, salesman, lighting engineer, cook and extraordinary producer of Van Noten's first fashion show in Paris in 1991.
In 1995, Russo started his own production firm, naming it after the charming villa where it was located. Since 2004, the Villa Eugenie team has worked out of a former factory close to Brussels South station (Bruxelles-Midi, Brussel-Zuid). The space, covered by a vast glass canopy, was redesigned by the Ghent-based architect Glenn Sestig
This is the same man who this year opened his first luxury hotel Sestig Hotel. In the cubic Huis Van Waes building in Ghent that he reconstructed. By Tuija Seipell
Seen any other interesting events we should know about? e-mail [email protected]
It’s not only the destination that is important – the trip itself matters as well. Both literally and figuratively. So why are we left bored out of our heads, plus cold, wet, angry and hungry, as we wait (and wait and wait) in line ups?
It is because the operators of clubs, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, sports facilities and other entertainment venues fail to embrace — or take advantage of – the entire user experience. We are right there, waiting to be entertained and they ignore us and leave us out in the cold?
As we ponder this, we are delighted when something like this fun ski-lift shows up under our radar. It serves as a metaphor for the idea of doing more than the minimum with every aspect of the experience. What we see is ingenuity, creativity, and a sense of style and fun.
Sensory overload is unavoidable in Paris, and after a while you become a bit numb. But like a sorbet that clears your palate between courses, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s (JC/DC) store at 10 Rue Vauvilliers will work as a visual palate-refresher.
The store has an air of theatre without being theatrical, drama without being dramatic and history without being historical. A retro, semi-aggressive undertone, popped up by whimsy and surprise. Oh yes, they do sell fashion, too.
The store’s flair and ingenuity are not accidental. Cooperation between super-talents such as JC/DC and Christian Ghion is likely to produce something remarkable. In his 40-plus years in the business of high-impact eye candy, the Casablanca, Morocco-born Marquis de Castelbajac has enjoyed enormous successes designing fashion, movies, cars, sportswear and interiors. Celebrities from Elton John to Pope John Paul II have worn his creations and added to his fame.
The 49-year-old Christian Ghion is no less prolific or versatile. He is known as a designer of high-end furniture and accessories, exhibitions, and home, store and hotel interiors. His chicest furniture design is the 2002 Shadow chaise lounge for Cappellini. By Tuija Seipell
Poetry and storytelling help us understand the world that surrounds us. Visual imagery allows the mind to draw parallels between what we see and how we think. Dutch designer Jurgen Bey has created a classroom that will inspire young minds to think beyond the realm of what is traditionally asked of school children.
The classroom interior project is part of the ROC training school at Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Practically every surface of the room is covered with images found in books used at the school. Centred around a palate of white and grey, Bey selected graphics then placed them around the space on walls, furniture and even the floor. Moveable screens allow the room to open completely or divide space depending on the activities taking place.
One key feature, the highly wear-resistant flooring system made with Senso Freeze, contains a transparent resin that allowed Bey to embed digital photographs onto the surface. Inspiration and creativity seeps from every surface - it's impossible to imagine what will be generated from the minds as they pass through this space. By Andrew J Wiener
Let's just all rewind the movie of our lives a bit and go back to school. We at Coolhunter are thinking of heading to University of London's Birkbeck College and finding our way to the classes at its Film & Visual Media Research Centre.
You cannot tell from the outside that the odd set of buildings at London's Gordon Square offers anything remarkable at all. The older building does have a pedigree - it is the former home of both Virginia Stephens (later Woolf) and economist John Maynard Keynes. The drab 1970s extension to the building does not even deserve another look. Except inside.
Award-winning London-based Surface Architects won the competition to create within the buildings the permanent home of the Film & Visual Media Research Centre. Surface transformed the basement, ground floor and the extension into a unique state-of-the-art 80-seat cinema auditorium, surrounded by a media study suite, seminar rooms and offices.
Ian Christie, Birkbeck's Professor of Film and Media History, describes the exciting new building “...the new cinema auditorium - already being referred to as 'The Screen on the Square' is as soberly dedicated to ideal screening conditions as the surrounding break-out spaces and stairway are an exuberant display of pure form and colour. In fact, Surface's extraordinary projection of intersecting cones has various filmic associations: the jagged angles recall the Expressionist set design of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, an influential German film of 1921; and the lurid colours evoke Andy Warhol's silkscreen portraits of film stars.”
Key players at Surface are Richard Scott, who formed it in 1996, and Andy MacFee, who joined Surface in 2001 as director. Both have worked with Will Alsop and other notables. Surface is also one of 47 practices worldwide selected to work on the Athlete's Village for the London 2012 Olympics. By Tuija Seipell
Forget about wandering through an art gallery and wondering if you’re the only one who has no idea what anything means. Acess Agency has brilliantly invited the cultural elite to grab a glass at an exhibition in Dresden, Germany, and drink away the art.
Regardless of what we do or do not understand about art, we can all agree, it stimulates our senses. Access has aroused our sense of taste (not to mention eliminated the need of elbowing our way to the bar) by hanging flat, glass containers with a variety of cocktails in the exhibition space. As the night progressed, the levels of the multi-coloured infusions diminished. By the end of the event, the art, itself, ran dry, and empty drinking glasses were returned to where they were originally placed. - Andrew J Wiener.